Water is life and life can only be meaningful if any human being has access to water in right quality and quantity. The focus has always been on the little of it (drought) being a threat to human life. But on flipping the coin we also realize that excess of it (flood) also poses a big risk to human life and property.
Water security for the future
Discussions looked at the flooding situation in the inhabited regions and countries along the Mekong river and how young people can be involved in implementing solutions to reduce the risks. As part of Community risk management the citizens of Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar have to engage all members of their communities especially the youth in ensuring that they can manage any flooding event that poses as a threat to them.
The discussions saw useful contributions from fellow Young Water Leaders from the respective countries, which created a sense of confidence in the knowledge that the youth understand the problems that face them and already know what solutions are required.
Water and Sanitation
The discussion on sanitation in Asia brought to the forefront the challenges that face a significant part of the population who cannot access sanitation facilities. The youth in Asia have an opportunity through the Asia Development Bank for support of ideas that be implemented to alleviate the situation. This kind of approach can be borrowed and work well in parts of Africa and Latin America which are struggling with this kind of problem. However it should be noted that, for sanitation to be successful, provision of clean and safe water plus hygiene promotion services are crucial to ensure successful implementation.
The concept behind Water stewardship was made clear and the Young Water Leaders understood which roles they could play to achieve that. A clear distinction was made between Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) being professional driven while Water stewardship was being more of consumer driven.
The Opening plenary provided a unique learning opportunity as the global leaders from Governments, Private sector and International Organizations, spoke on various topics that gave insight on issues that affect urban areas and environment worldwide and what measures need to be put into place to guarantee liveable and sustainable cities.
In summary, the YWLS sessions and summit proceedings has provided a unique platform for high level of knowledge sharing which has greatly reinforced my knowledge and understanding of water related issues and their best possible solutions. The networking exercise has created a promise of future collaboration and engagement with colleagues on matters of mutual interest both in career and otherwise. I am sure this will greatly increase chances in securing job opportunities.
The YWLS has provided me with a unique experience, the main highlight having met and interacted in person with the Prime Minister of Singapore. I am motivated to share my experience and knowledge obtained to further the cause of which the Young Water Leaders Summit was formed.
”Change is hard. There are always two sides to an equation, Rights goes with responsibility”. Glen Daigger, IWA President.
”We turned vulnerability to our advantage”. Her Excellency Grace Fu. In reference to the inspiration behind Singapore’s quest to get solutions to their water problems.
By George Tom Ogol
Blue Nile group leader